Creative Process

Initiation Rites, detail

“I have always been intrigued by caves, cave drawings, and rock art. They have a mystical quality that I try to communicate in my paintings. My work is mainly abstract in nature and the symbols arise intuitively on the painting surface.”

Artist Teyjah McAren begins her cave paintings by using various acrylic gels and building up the surface in layers. She uses a wide range of artistic techniques and materials, including torn paper strips, canvas pieces dipped in gesso and, crumpled printmaking papers to re-create the textural feel of cave walls. She then drops varied mixtures of earth colors onto her painting surface, encouraging the colors to mix and bleed into each other. Iridescent and Interference acrylic paints are glazed on the surface to recreate the shimmer that you see when light strikes the cave walls.

Every cave painting involves experimentation, adding and subtracting elements until the whole piece looks ready. Finally, Teyjah carves, paints, or stencils the symbols that will define the artwork. The result is a painting that echoes the style and mystery of petroglyphs that were first set upon stone thousands of years in the past.